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Player to Watch: Boston College Football’s Joseph Griffin Jr.

NCAA Football: Boston College at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the Boston College spring game just a day away, it is the perfect time to hop on the off-season hype train. All eyes are on projected first-round pick and star wideout Zay Flowers, who’s leaving for the NFL, creating a massive gap for a new receiver to rise to the occasion. My pick to be that guy is Joe Griffin Jr.

The Springfield native was one of the few bright spots from a BC team that massively underperformed a year ago. Griffin Jr. was a four-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals, and the consensus No. 1 wide receiver in Mass. As an All-State receiver at Springfield Central, he starred on the team’s offense as a deep threat and played a big role in leading the program to back-to-back state championships. In October 2021, he committed to Boston College, choosing the Eagles over Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, and others.

Griffin Jr. had a slow start to his freshman campaign, grabbing just 5 receptions in the Eagles’ first 5 games. He began to show some promise at QB after Emmett Morehead took over due to Phil Jurkovec’s mid-season injury. In Morehead’s first start against Duke, the 6’4 receiver had a breakout performance, catching five passes for a total of 103 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

And then, with the game on the line against No. 16 NC State, Griffin Jr. fought off his defender to catch a back shoulder 2-yard-strike from Morehead in the Eagles’ biggest win of the season. In the clutch, Morehead trusted Griffin Jr’s towering frame to go get the ball, and he did just that. The chemistry between Morehead and Griffin, both rising sophomores, gives much promise for the future.

UCF transfer WR Ryan O’Keefe will also certainly be in the mix to fill the void after hauling in 184 passes for 2,002 yards and 17 touchdowns, as well as rushing for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns on 118 carries - averaging an electrifying 8.7 yards per attempt in his four seasons at UCF. Jaden Williams, Dino Tomlin, and Tajj Johnson will likely round out the potentially strong group.

While O’Keefe is the more seasoned player, Joe Griffin Jr.’s potential provides a ton of excitement as he has shown an impressive ability to run-block and make contested catches deep downfield. With a year of experience under his belt and a full offseason to work on his game, Griffin Jr. is poised to take his game to the next level in 2023. It is entirely possible that he develops into a #1 guy as he has all the tools to be a dominant receiver in the ACC and beyond.

As football returns to the Heights, I am sure that Jeff Hafley and co. are eager to get back on the field, surely with a lot to prove.